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Algae > Volume 24(1); 2009 > Article
Algae 2009;24(1): 1-29. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2009.24.1.001
Marine Algae and Early Explorations in the Upper North Pacific and Bering Sea
Michael J. Wynne
University of Michigan Herbarium, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108, U.S.A.
*Corresponding Author  Email: mwynne@umich.edu
A synthesis of early exploration and the discovery of marine algae in the upper North Pacific and Bering Sea is presented covering the period from the late 1730s to around 1900. Information is provided about these early efforts to gather natural objects, including seaweeds, and names of these algae are enumerated. The first collections of marine algae in this broad region were those made by Steller and Krasheninnkov from the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, during the Second Kamchatkan Expedition (1735-1742) and were described by Gmelin (1768). The first known algal collections in Alaska were those made by Merck in his 1790-1791 visits to Unalaska Island during the Billings expedition (1785-1794). British-sponsored expeditions for commercial purposes and for exploration and discovery allowed surgeon-naturalist Archibald Menzies to gather seaweeds that Dawson Turner and others worked up back in Europe. Several of the Russian expeditions during the first half of the 18th century had naturalists aboard. The first Russian circumnavigation of the globe (1803-1806), with the ships ‘Nadeshda’ and ‘Neva,’ under the command of Capt. Adam von Krusenstern had naturalists Langsdorff, Tilesius, and Horner, all of whom collected seaweeds. The naturalist Adelbert Chamisso accompanied the Romanzof Expedition (1815-1818) on the Russian vessel ‘Rurik’ under the command of Otto von Kotzebue and made collections of algae in the Aleutians as well as in the Kurils and Kamchatka. The Lutke expedition of 1826-1829 consisted of two ships. Feodor Lutke was in command of the ‘Seniavin’ with K.H. Mertens aboard as physician-naturalist, and the ‘Moller’ was under the command of Staniukovich accompanied by the naturalist G. Kastalsky. The first American-sponsored scientific expedition (1838- 1842) was that commanded by Charles Wilkes, and the algae that were collected were worked up by J.W. Bailey and W.H. Harvey. The Russian naturalist Ilya Voznesenskii spent the period 1839-1849 in Russian America (Alaska and northern California) energetically traveling and making numerous collections of natural objects as well as ethnographic artefacts. His algae were described by F.J. Ruprecht back in St. Petersburg. The Swedish scientific vessel, the ‘Vega’ (1878-1880), was under the command of Nordenskiold. The naturalist F.R. Kjellman made algal collections from Port Clarence, Alaska, as well as from Bering Island and St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. The Harriman Alaskan Expedition in the summer of 1899, with the ship ‘George W. Elder,’ was sponsored by railroad magnate E. H. Harriman of New York City and had several scientific personnel aboard, including the phycologist De Alton Saunders. Algae were collected in Alaska and Washington. During the same summer of 1899 a scientific expedition organized by the University of California and including W.L. Jepson, L.E. Hunt, A.A. Lawson, and W.A. Setchell as participants also visited Alaska and made collections of algae from various locations.
Key words: Alaska, Bering Sea, early exploration, Eualaria, Eualaria fistulosa comb. nov., marine algae, North Pacific

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